All its remaining stock has been moved to the Blackburn store, with both full-time members of staff being offered alternative positions in Oldham. One part-time member of staff, who was employed on a probationary basis, has lost their job.
Westhoughton Town Council leader Cllr David Chadwick said it was sad to see the shop close and added that discussions were ongoing with Bolton Council to see if anything could be done to encourage more businesses to set up. Toymaster will have 17 outlets left in the North of England after this closure.
Manager Gordon Walker, owner of the Conways toy retail chain, who also owns the building in Market Street, said: “It is closing down because of the economy in Westhoughton, which is a small market town. It is very sad and very disappointing. Sales were 55% down in November, and December’s figures were looking like being quite similar. The council has not made things any easier in Westhoughton, as parking is a real problem in the centre, which means very few customers were coming to us from elsewhere.”
Mr Walker added that staff moved to Oldham will have their daily travelling expenses paid for by Toymaster. He added: “In retrospect, I should perhaps have made this decision in January or February this year, but I felt I owed it to the staff here to give it as long as I could.”
Cllr Chadwick said: “Obviously the town centre is struggling in the current climate like many areas of the country. I’m very sad a long-standing business like this is closing down and feel for any staff that worked there. It is so easy now for people to order toys online, which means they are not using local shops like they once were. The new toy shop at Middlebrook, which people can get to from all over very easily, will not have helped either.”
Formerly called Tinnis-wood’s, the Market Street outlet has housed a toy shop for more than 40 years.
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